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16 'virgins' get scholarships under this bizarre South African education scheme

News Agencies | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:29 IST

If you refrain from engaging in sexual activity for the duration of your education, you can stake your claim to a hefty scholarship. Or at least that's what this South African education scheme seems to be luring applicants with.

Under the scheme, a South African mayor has awarded scholarships to 16 women for reportedly agreeing to the bizarre clause till their studies were complete. The scheme demands that the young women who apply for scholarships agree to undergo regular "virginity tests" till their studies are complete.

Uthukela Mayor Dudu Mazibuko said the young women had voluntarily applied to the scholarship and agreed to the clause - which also involves them having to undergo regular virginity tests to keep their funding,

The scholarship has been introduced this year to encourage others to be "pure and focus on school" and has been awarded to young women from the Uthukela district in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, reports News.com.au.

South Africa's department of basic education recorded about 20,000 pregnancies among girls and young women in schools in 2014, with 223 pregnant girls still in primary school, according to the South African Broadcasting Corporation.

Though some activists have called for the banning of virginity testing in South Africa, the mayor said that it is constitutional if tested with consent.

Those defending the cultural practice say that it preserves tradition and has been modernised to teach girls about their reproductive health and HIV and AIDS.


First published: 25 January 2016, 12:30 IST